Exquisite writing and ’70s album art from writer Bruce Jenkins at Vinyl Connection.

Peter Jackson’s famous films were not the first cinematic journeys into Middle Earth. American animator Ralph Bakshi visited back in 1978 with rather mixed results.

Clearly holding the J.R.R. Tolkien books in high esteem, Bakshi adopted such a respectful approach to the epic fantasy that the result is, despite the adventurous content, quite slow-moving and stilted.

I saw The Lord of the Rings in the Union Cinema at Melbourne University. Can’t remember when, but presumably sometime in 1979. I’m pretty sure my companion for this adventure would have been long-time fantasy buddy Andre (who, three years later, queued up for four hours to purchase the first ticket to the premiere Melbourne screening of Conan the Barbarian).

What I mostly remember of the Bakshi film is my disappointment. Although long (133 minutes), the telling was somehow stiff and forced. The colours were rich and earthy yet the character portrayals disappointing…

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Categories: writing

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